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Wanton hatred, wanton love... A soldier's boots... When heaven is evil... Life after terror... Nine, eleven and ten... The burning palace... Transcending fear... Should we hate them?

Life Vs. Terror: a 9/11 Anthology

Life Vs. Terror: a 9/11 Anthology


We've survived. We've cleared the rubble and picked up the pieces of our shattered pride and shocked economy; we even have a design in the works for a new glorious World Trade Center, complete with a memorial to our dead. We've deposed the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq. We have these big fat x-ray machines in our airports and patrol cars watching our bridges. Bin Laden's on the run or at least lying low.

And still we're in the thick of battle, in this war of life versus terror. Turns out that this battle has been going on all along, only we avoided looking it in the face. It's not an equal fight. One side has human bombs and lethal poisons and hateful determination and absolutely no scruples. The other side has goodwill and moral inhibitions and hesitant smiles and kind words and small charitable acts. It's no equal fight, since a single hesitant good deed is a billion times more powerful than all the bombs in the world.

Life shall triumph, as it always has. As it did when eight men and women survived the Great Flood in an ark and emerged to resettle and repopulate the earth. As it did when 70 souls descended into exile and slavery, to climb out four generations later as a vibrant people with a mission to bring freedom and sanctity to the entire world. As it did when Mordechai refused to bow to Haman and when the Maccabees refused to accept the desecration of the Holy Temple. As it did when the free world defeated Hitler, and when the evil of Stalinism crumbled to dust just 15 years ago. Life shall triumph, for life is so much stronger than terror.

Numerous times since 9/11 I've read and re-read the articles that our editors and contributors at have written on the great war of life against terror. Each time I did so, I found myself encouraged, reaffirmed in my faith in the goodness of G‑d's world. If that was my experience, perhaps it may be yours as well. Here, then, is an updated collection:

We all look for consolation, and we seek to console. But the sheer enormity of the evil we just experienced is so hideous, so repellent, we’re left with no words.
This is what a satanic act looks like: Bright, metallic, swinging with ease across the sky, turning with complete mastery of the laws of physics, the laws of life and death, the laws of pain and fear . . .
That night, for the first time in my 26 years in the military, I didn't clean my boots. I have not cleaned then since. When my mission here is completed these boots will be buried
You can have two religions or five or fifty and it's okay. Pray on a carpet, on your knees, standing up. Whatever. But when it comes to morality there is only one G-d
As rescue workers sifted through the rubble, Esther and I donned our hard hats and headed towards our chupah, just over the bridge in Brooklyn. With a plume of black smoke suspended in the skies above our wedding canopy, it was clear to that our challenge would be to build more than a Jewish home.
Should we combat it? Ignore it? Is it possible to do both?
Hasn't it caused as much evil as good?
Monotheism is a dangerous belief. Perhaps one of the most dangerous beliefs there is. For monotheism to enter the world safely, it must be married to a deeper belief…
A War on Terror means just that: a war not to be terrified by those who want you to be. If you're afraid, they've just won another battle -- and I'm not a loser...
Why was I witness? Can I possibly understand the purpose of death, pain and suffering? No. But I can choose to learn from it. You are a child of a living, pulsating, compassionate Creator. Do it and live it. Reincarnate the souls of those torn so rudely from us.
A line was drawn in the sand. On September 11, the line became crude, the divisions crystal clear. But between good and evil are many gradations; both lie within a larger field that unites them. Indeed, if this were not the case, then we on the side of good could have no effect on evil . . .
Terror can become imbedded in the bone and tissue. It can go right down to the cellular level and be held there, embraced there, entrapped there for a lifetime. What can we do for those who are already its victim?
The power to be silent at certain moments of life and of history is an important strength. It expresses the awareness that G-d is infinite, and cannot be encapsulated in our human conceptions of what should take place...
Where have I heard the numbers 9/11 before? Then it comes to me. In Sefer Yetzirah, the oldest Kabbalistic text, a cryptic phrase states: Ten sefirot of nothingness; ten and not nine, ten and not eleven . . .
A man was traveling when he saw a palace in flames. He wondered: "Is it possible that the palace lacks an owner?" Thus, says an ancient Midrash, Judaism was born
Evil exists because it is so much more powerful than good. Is there lover in the world who loves with the intensity that a hater hates? Is there a light as bright as darkness is black? Has there ever been an act of kindness unleashed with the force and ferocity contained in an act of cruelty?
Fear has infiltrated our lives like a deadly white powder wafting through the soul of America. A seeping dread is slowly filling the space where our hearts used to be. Is there an answer to this fear? Is there some way to still this terror, to reclaim our supplanted hearts?
Some would say that we were living in a fool's paradise. Certainly others have known all along that the world is not a safe place. We beg to differ: it is not we who live in a fool's paradise, it is they who live in a fool's hell
Many of us are not quite sure how to react towards terrorists who have no qualms about killing huge amounts of people. Should we be angry with them or should we feel sorry for them?
When we understand the root and essence of terrorism, we also understand how despite its awful power we can fight it, each and every one of us, until it is absolutely destroyed.
On that morning, nearly 3,000 innocents lost their lives, and nearly 300 million lives lost their innocence. Americans lost their sense of security. Suddenly, we all felt so vulnerable.
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Jason hesperia, ca September 10, 2006

right on I was brought to humblness by your work. It is so easy to look at this and see the hate, fear, anger, and "human bombs" all around us, but i was blessed and uplifted, it is not a fair fight, good deeds and mitzvot always prevail against the enemy. G-d Bless you for bringing light into a darkened heart again. Reply

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